Posted: Mon., Jul. 12, 2004, 9:11pm PT

SAG TO ADD ACTING  SESHES
Org hoping to crack down on illegal casting classes

By CLAUDE BRODESSER

Seeking to end casting workshops' controversial -- and illegal -- practice of requiring payment from actors to attend, the Screen Actors Guild and its Foundation on Monday announced a pilot effort that will increase the number of free casting workshops available to guild members.

After a one-year run in Los Angeles, SAGSAG hopes to expand the program nationwide.

Two years have passed since the California labor commissioner moved to clamp down on illegal "pay to audition" workshops run by casting directors. Commissioner Arthur Lujan's office stunned the industry in February 2002 when it announced that more than a dozen L.A. workshops were violating state laws banning payment to apply for employment.

The CAP effort aims to build on Lujan's rule-tightening by significantly expanding the number of no-cost workshops and other casting opportunities available to guild members while providing casting directors with modest compensation for their time.

Dubbed the Casting Access Project, pilot program aims to enhance guild member access to casting directors. It is made possible by a recent grant from the Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund. The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, through an in-kind donation, will house the workshops on its campus.

"Our goal here is to create a win-win-win," explained Paul Petersen, chair of the SAG casting committee. "Actors have greater casting access. Producers have an easier time meeting the casting provisions of their SAG contract. And the time of casting directors also is valued."

The SAG Foundation will administer the grant, and the guild's member education department will work closely with the Casting Society of America to create the program's educational content, built on the volunteer efforts of SAG's casting committee, which has conducted no-cost workshops since the 1980s.

The Casting Access Project is scheduled to reach its first-year goal of tripling the number of free casting workshops by the fall. It is available to all SAG members in good standing. Members who wish to participate should call the hotline at (323) 549-6022.




The official SAG Press Release


SAG FOUNDATION AND SAG TEAM TO INCREASE FREE CASTING WORKSHOPS

Los Angeles (July 2004)—In an effort to constructively resolve the ongoing debate over the controversial practice of actors paying to attend casting workshops, The Screen Actors Guild Foundation and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today announced a new pilot effort that will increase the number of free casting workshops available to Guild members.  After a one-year run in Los Angeles, SAG hopes to expand the program nationwide.

The Casting Access Project aims to enhance Guild member access to casting directors, who are the gatekeepers of job opportunities for working actors.   The one-year pilot effort was made possible by a recent grant from the Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund (IACF).   The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, through an in-kind donation, will house the workshops on their campus.

The issue of paid casting workshops came to a head in Los Angeles two years ago when California Labor Commissioner Art Lujan held public hearings on the issue.  The hearings, which were well attended by actors, producers and casting directors, produced voluntary guidelines under which for-profit casting enterprises would agree to operate.  The Casting Access Project aims to build on that momentum by significantly expanding the number of no-cost workshops and other casting opportunities available to Guild members, while providing casting directors with modest compensation for their time.

“Our goal here is to create a win-win-win,” explained Paul Petersen, chair of the SAG casting committee.  “Actors have greater casting access.  Producers have an easier time meeting the casting provisions of their SAG contract.  And, the time of casting directors also is valued.  This grant helps us work toward solutions that address the legitimate concerns of all sides in this debate.”

The SAG Foundation will administer the grant, and SAG’s member education department will work closely with the Casting Society of America to create the program’s educational content, which will build on the volunteer efforts of SAG’s casting committee, which has conducted no-cost workshops since the 1980s.  
 
The Casting Access Project is scheduled to reach its first-year goal of tripling the number of free casting workshops by the fall of 2004.  Members who wish to participate should call the hotline at 323/549-6022.

SAG members click here for more info and to enroll!